I read an advanced review copy of “In the Shadow of Lakecrest” by Elizabeth Blackwell. The novel begins in 1928 as two passengers are returning amongst many to the United States from Europe by ship. One is a man from a purported wealthy family from Chicago. The other passenger is an employee of a wealthy family from New York, who is tutoring the two young daughters for the summer. Kate Moore is from a family of questionable lineage and Matthew Lemont is a wealthy son of a controlling mother. After a whirlwind courtship, Matthew asks for Kate’s hand. Although she really doesn’t love him, she figures that she has made a great catch as her groom is wealthy and can provide everything that Kate has longed for and not been able to achieve.
After meeting Hannah, Matt’s mother, and moving into their mansion with misgivings, Kate finds that her life will not be continuing as she wishes it to. There is something strange going on at Lakecrest mansion. Hannah is overbearing and controlling and there is something really upsetting at the closeness between Matthew and his sister. There is talk of a missing aunt, who just disappeared one day and no one seems to know anything about that.
I thought that I would enjoy this novel since it was almost a Cinderella story for Kate and possibly a life-changing relationship for Matthew. However, I found this novel to be extremely dark and foreboding. There are too many secrets and too many ominous happenings for my taste. I felt that every character portrayed was bordering on insanity and it was quite disconcerting for me.
The year is 1928. Kate Moore is looking for a way out of the poverty and violence of her childhood. When a chance encounter on a transatlantic ocean liner brings her face-to-face with the handsome heir to a Chicago fortune, she thinks she may have found her escape—as long as she can keep her past concealed.
After exchanging wedding vows, Kate quickly discovers that something isn’t quite right with her husband—or her new family. As Mrs. Matthew Lemont, she must contend with her husband’s disturbing past, his domineering mother, and his overly close sister. Isolated at Lakecrest, the sprawling, secluded Lemont estate, she searches desperately for clues to Matthew’s terrors, which she suspects stem from the mysterious disappearance of his aunt years before. As Kate stumbles deeper into a maze of family secrets, she begins to question everyone’s sanity—especially her own. But just how far will she go to break free of this family’s twisted past?